Slovenia president throws doubt on recognition of Palestine
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Slovenia president throws doubt on recognition of Palestine

Premier says he will back measure only if it will 'contribute to the solution of its bilateral issues with Israel'

Borut Pahor speaks at the Slovenian parliament in Ljubljana, Friday, November 7, 2008. (AP Photo/Matej Leskovsek)
Borut Pahor speaks at the Slovenian parliament in Ljubljana, Friday, November 7, 2008. (AP Photo/Matej Leskovsek)

Slovenia’s president cast doubt on Friday on his country recognizing Palestine as a state in the near future, days after the foreign minister talked up the chances of such a move.

President Borut Pahor’s office said in a statement to AFP that he would only back the recognition of a Palestinian state “in circumstances that would contribute to the solution of its bilateral issues with Israel but not to the worsening of relations.”

But the statement added that for the moment, “those circumstances are not in place.”

Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec had said on Monday he hoped Slovenia would officially recognize a Palestinian state in March or April and that this would “strengthen Palestine’s negotiation in the Middle East peace process.”

Last week, the Slovenian ambassador in Tel Aviv, Barbara Sušnik, told The Times of Israel the issue of recognizing Palestinian statehood had been pending in the country’s parliament since 2014, and was only coming to a vote now.

President Reuven Rivlin with the Ambassador of Slovenia, Barbara Susnik, November 2015 (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

Slovenia would be the second of the EU’s 28 member states to recognize Palestine while a member of the EU. Sweden was the first to officially recognize the Palestinian state as an EU member, in 2014. Eight other countries took the step before entering the EU: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Malta and Cyprus.

Recent reports of Solevnia’s possible recognition of Palestine follow US President Donald Trump’s December recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to move the US Embassy to the city from Tel Aviv.

Trump said his declaration reflected reality on the ground, and was not intended to prejudge any future arrangement between Israel and the Palestinians regarding the disputed city, though he later said it had taken Jerusalem off the table. Welcomed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and leaders across most of the Israeli political spectrum, the move caused an uproar throughout the Muslim world and was panned by the United Nations, the European Union, and many European countries.

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